A Guide to Making Math Fun
For a lot of kids, math is one of those subjects that they either love it or hate it. It unfortunately gets a bad rap for either being too difficult, viewed as not needed in real life or it's just plain boring. Don't let your kids turn math into a negative thing they have to tolerate. How about doing some activities at home that can help math become more interesting to your child or can we dare say even fun? Check out below our Guide to Making Math Fun for some ideas on how to get started and make adjustments as needed for the age, school grade and maturity level of your individual child.
Make Word Problems More Relevant
For word problems, instead of using generic characters or situations, take one of their favorite television shows and use those characters and situations instead. For example, if Carly is their favorite show at the moment, give them a word problem like, "If Carly and her friend Sam have 500 fans of their podcast who are divided up equally among four states, approximately how many fans live in each state?"
This is a fun activity for elementary school children. Take everyday items around the house and put stickers on them as if you were having a garage sale. If you can, use real money and coins and have your child play store with you as the clerk. Have them add and subtract and figure out sale items like 20 or 30 percent off.
Make it Real
Use real-life objects around the house for addition and subtraction problems. Use anything you or your child has a lot of like Lego pieces or something similar. Or try looking into your pantry for items like odd-shaped pasta or cereal and create problems on small index cards to use with your child. You can also take a food they like such as pizza or a big cookie and divide it up so they can learn fractions.
For a great way to get your child to be more active as well as learn math in a fun way is to give them math problems to figure out while they are doing something outside. For example, while playing the basketball game H-O-R-S-E with your child, have them answer a math problem each time before they have to throw the ball into the hoop. Or take them out for roller skating or riding a skateboard and have them go around in a big circle and give them problems to shout out and see how many they can answer while riding around the circle. For younger children, use can teach them math lessons by using objects from nature like leaves, rocks or sticks for addition and subtraction problems.
Use Free Resources
Online websites like Mathnook.com offer math games for free and show elementary students and kids at other grade levels that math is cool. You can find free teaching tools and resources for children to learn math in a fun and entertaining way. Mathnook.com has puzzle and brain games in a variety of categories to draw your child into the world of math and while there, they are having fun while learning and reinforcing math concepts.
Sing a Song
Channel your inner American Idol and sing with your child while they learn math. There are a number of math song books on the market that can teach them multiplication, division, addition and subtraction all through the power of music. Schoolhouse Rock is a classic book that still works for today's children.
Have the Right Attitude
Lastly, as a parent, having a positive attitude about math is essential to your child developing a positive attitude toward the subject as well. Let your child know that anyone can be successful at math and not just the "brainy" or top kids in class. Reinforce that math is useful in daily life as well as for jobs of the future. Let them know they wouldn't want to limit their job possibilities because they didn't master math concepts while they were in school. Your positive attitude will show them that math is not only important to know but can be fun to learn.